• Brighton create history with three own-goals
• 'We are not ready for promotion' – Gus Poyet
History was created at Anfield as Brighton & Hove Albion became the first club to concede three own-goals in an FA Cup tie and were duly demolished 6-1 by Liverpool. From Kenny Dalglish came sympathy for Lewis Dunk and Liam Bridcutt, the unfortunate Brighton midfielder who put through his own net twice. From Gus Poyet, however, there was a scathing assessment of his charitable team who, he insisted, had shown they are not ready for promotion to the Premier League.
For 44 minutes of the fifth-round tie, Brighton's 6,000-strong travelling support had reason to believe in a major cup upset. Kazenga LuaLua had equalised Martin Skrtel's early goal with a fine free-kick from 25 yards and Liverpool were enduring yet another of their profligate afternoons on home soil. Then Bridcutt unavoidably scored an own-goal to give the Premier League side the lead once more. "It changed the game," said Poyet. It started an avalanche that would change the FA Cup record books.
Bridcutt produced his second own goal and Liverpool's fourth of the game when attempting to clear Steven Gerrard's effort off the line. The best, or worst for Poyet and Brighton, came just three minutes later when Dunk, with time and under no pressure in front of the Kop, tried to control a Luis Suárez cross before clearing, only to knee the ball over his own line.
Brighton's comedy of errors matched Sunderland's performance against Charlton Athletic in 2003 when Stephen Wright, a former Liverpool player, and Michael Proctor put through their own net three times in a league game. But this was a first for the oldest cup competition in the world. It pales, perhaps, in comparison with Stan van den Buys' performance for Germinal Ekeren (now Germinal Beerschot) against Anderlecht in January 1995 when the defender's hat-trick of own goals gave the Brussels club a 3-2 win. It certainly pales with the 149 own goals that Stade Olympique L'Emyrne scored against AS Adema in October 2002. SOE deliberately scored the own goals in protest at a refereeing decision and four players were subsequently suspended by the Madagascan FA.
Dalglish tried to give Bridcutt's second to Gerrard. The statistics will say otherwise. "Three own goals? Are you taking Steven's off him? You'd better tell him that yourself then," the Liverpool manager said. "You can't blame their boys for wanting to defend their own goal. They were a little unfortunate. We had 15 attempts on goal, or so I'm told, and we wanted to get our conversion rate up so this will help. I feel sympathy for the boys who scored the own goals but I'm sure their objective was always to win promotion to the Premier League and if they play like they did in the first half I'm sure they will get there."
Poyet was able to laugh about the unwanted hat-trick. "We are a record, no?" he said. But the humour disappeared when the Brighton manager gave his verdict on the Championship club's overall display. The Uruguayan, who said he was pleased for his compatriot Suárez after his first goal at Anfield since December, said: "I have been honest about promotion and saying the same thing for the last six months. We are not ready. I said I didn't want to come to Anfield and lose six- or seven-one. We need to be ready for this level if we want to get here and stay here. You need strength, power and technical ability in the Premier League. If not, you should forget about playing the top six.
"People have been getting excited because we are doing all right. It would be fantastic if we went up but we would need to change things completely because I don't want to be managing in the Premier League and getting beat 6-1."